Gir Wild Life Sanctuary, famous for Asiatic Lions, made GPS installation compulsory in its tourist vehicles. The forest department made this decision, in order to track vehicles entering the sanctuary especially gypsys that operate in the sanctuary.
Using the GPS mounted vehicles, forest department locate each and every vehicles that go inside the sanctuary with tourists.
“We recently held meeting with all gypsy owners who are operating these tourist vehicles in the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and they have agreed to install the new system for better management of wildlife tourism. We plan operationalize this system from the next tourists’ season when the sanctuary opens in October,” Ram Ratan Nala, deputy conservator of forests, wildlife division, Sasan (Gir) told Times of India.
Nala emphasized that it was a measure taken for improving safety of tourists and thus ensure that vehicle don’t enter the restricted areas. “Sometimes, vehicles knowingly or unknowingly enter the routes that are banned for tourists. GPS will help us locate such movements on a real-time basis. If any vehicle enters the ‘no-go zone’, we will get an alert,” he said.
There are about 150 vehicles which serves as tourist vehicles in Gir Sanctuary. “Primary estimate suggests that a GPS system on vehicle costs around Rs 10,000. But if we order them on large scale, the cost might come down Rs 6,000. The cost will have to paid by gypsy owners,” a Forest official said.
Gir Sanctuary permits have been made online and the forest department allows 90 permits a day. And at the time of holiday and festival seasons, department allows 150 permits a day. According to the source, about 1.32 lakh tourists visited Gir Sanctuary during the period 2015-16.